Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Great news for coffee lovers...

A new study reported  online May 11 in Breast Cancer Research among almost 6000 Swedish women found that heavy coffee drinkers were far less likely to have an agressive form ( ER-Negative) of breast cancer.  

5,929 Swedish women, aged 50 to 74, about half of whom had breast cancer,
completed questionnaires which were used to assess behavioral and health characteristics. Factors assessed included smoking and drinking patterns, physical activity routines, family history of breast cancer, hormone therapy protocols, nutritional intake, body mass index, education level and coffee consumption habits. In the women who had cancer, tumor status and breast cancer type were also noted.
The findings? Drinking coffee was linked to a "strong reduction" in risk for ER-negative breast cancer. Women who drank five cups of coffee a day had a 33 percent to 57 percent lower risk for ER-negative cancer than did those who drank less than one cup a day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My brother the artist...

beautiful shot...spot the bug yet?

My brother Chris is a photographer..I think this shot is incredible!

See more of his work here..he is having too much fun! Love you Chris!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Want a flat tummy? Fiber is your friend

Complex carbohydrates help you get and stay slim, without dieting. Unlike the ubiquitous simple carbs –yes I’m talking about cake, chips and cookies -- fruits, vegetables and whole grains are naturally loaded with fiber, a nutrient that supports better digestion and elimination, reduces bloat, and has even been shown to support a healthier body weight in numerous studies. 

Nutrition guidelines recommend women get 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day but surveys show most women fall short of that by about 60-70%.  One big plus...high fiber foods help you eat less calories but still feel full. 

Go for whole foods fiber sources like oatmeal, apples and spinach, Skip the bars and supplements. Remember that study that found that eating apples lowers cholesterol? It is because of the fiber. Try this...the next time you are tempted to grab some of chips, or something sweet, grab a whole apple instead. I promise you won’t be hungry afterward.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Olive oil is a natural pain killer...and the trees are so gorgeous!

Oh how I love this season...my roses are all leafed out and will be insane with blooms in about three weeks. The early lilacs are just starting to bloom and the olive trees are just beginning to set leaves. One of the great things about my porch in June is the fragrance of those olive trees as they flower. It is sweeter than any perfume..if only I could bottle it.

But I digress…I meant to write about olive oil…but thinking of olives had me thinking of the olive trees… OK I admit to being easily distracted by my garden this time of year.

You might wonder why we nutritionists love olive oil so much…well here are a few reasons why.

In 2005, Monell researchers and collaborators announced the discovery that oleocanthal found in virgin olive oil, is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, a pharmacological action shared by ibuprofen. The oil also decreases production of inflammatory chemicals called thromboxanes and leukotrienes The Monell findings were published in the science magazine Nature. But the resultant control of inflammation and pain relief are only two of the benefits attributed to olive oil.

The oil also reduces total cholesterol and delivers increases in the high-density cholesterol (HDL-C), which has a protective effect on blood vessels. And polyphenolic compounds in the oil have antioxidant properties and thus protect the LDL cholesterol from being oxidized..a benefit that reduces the progress of fatty plaques occurring in your blood vessels.

With olive oil we also see improved sensitivity of cells to insulin, which helps to prevent the prediabetic state referred to as metabolic syndrome. Avoiding metabolic syndrome is an important step key to longevity, because the syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Finally compounds in olive oil have also been shown to be antimicrobial against various forms of bacteria.

Scroll down for a recipe for olive oil, lemon and garlic aioli..and enjoy. Food as medicine..what a delicious thought!

Dinner Tonight! Grilled Artichokes..Let's Celebrate Spring!

The Artichokes
  • Two medium artichokes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Clip the leaves of the artichokes to remove the thorn at the tips, and slice off the top ¾ of an inch. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the artichokes. Boil for about 25 minutes, or until the outer leaves can be easily pulled off. Take out the artichokes, submerge in ice-cold water until cool, and then drain.

Fire up the grill. I love charcoal for the distinct flavor. But a gas grill will deliver a fine feast of these beauties as well.
While the grill is getting hot...cut the artichokes in half and pull out the thistle heart (purple and white leaves in the middle). Using a pastry brush, coat the artichokes with olive oil inside and out. Salt and pepper generously on both sides and place them cut side down on the cool side of a hot grill. The oil will cause a flare of flames if you put them over the fire so placement away from the flame is important.
Turn often until you see a few of the outer leaves begin to brown. Allowing the browning develops a better flavor. Remove to a platter and allow to cool. Serve with aioli, recipe is below....

Remember artichokes are low in calories and healthy, healthy, healthy! They provide cynarin, which supports reduced cholesterol levels, and silymarin which supports a healthy liver.

 The Aioli     
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Add the lemon juice, egg yolk, garlic, mustard and red pepper flakes to the pitcher of a blender or food processor and put the top on. Turn on blender/food processor and remove the safety top.
Slowly pour in about half of the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified.
Turn off the blender and add a pinch or two of salt and one of pepper, or to taste.
Restart the blender and add the remaining olive oil, or enough to make the sauce thick and creamy. Pour into dipping bowls.